GP sites due to start Covid vaccinations this week have been told their vaccine deliveries have been delayed, GPs have claimed.
Pulse also understands that sites are still waiting for logins for Pinnacle – the IT system which is to be used to record vaccinations under the enhanced service.
Dr Yvette Rean, a GP in Gillingham, Kent, said that ‘having spent weeks’ organising for vaccinations and ‘getting 975 patients booked in’, they ‘have been told they won’t be arriving on [Monday] as planned but [Tuesday] sometime’.
Due to the volatile nature of the Pfizer Covid vaccine, which needs to be stored and transported at -70C, GPs have just 3.5 days to administer all doses after receiving their delivery – leaving no margin for error.
‘I have 80 patients booked for Tuesday [morning],’ Dr Rean added.
Dr Gaurav Gupta, Kent LMC chair and a GP in Faversham, responded saying he was ‘also worried about the same’, having received a ‘confusing’ email from the CCG yesterday ‘saying we might be stood down’.
‘[We] have hundreds of patients booked for 18 [and] 19 [December],’ he added.
NHS England primary care director Dr Nikki Kanani responded via Twitter to say that both situations were ‘being picked up’.
The problem did not appear to only apply to Kent, with Merseyside GP Dr Simon Tobin stating their delivery of Covid vaccine ‘has been delayed 24 hours’.
Dr Rean, who is a single-handed GP, added that it had taken he practice receptionists ‘seven hours’ to book in the patients that were due to be vaccinated tomorrow – which would have to be repeated if the vaccine delivery was delayed.
The news comes as the number of GP sites that were due to begin vaccinations early this week has plummeted from an expected 280 to just over 100 – with NHS England declining to provide an explanation.
Pulse has asked NHS England for comment.
More to follow…